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Add-on Pricing, Naive Consumers, and the Hidden Welfare Costs of Education

Author

Listed:
  • Kosfeld, Michael

    () (Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Schüwer, Ulrich

    () (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Abstract

Previous research shows that firms shroud high add-on prices in competitive markets with naive consumers leading to inefficiency. We analyze the effects of regulatory intervention via educating naive consumers on equilibrium prices and welfare. Our model allows firms to shroud, unshroud, or partially unshroud add-on prices. Results show that consumer education may increase welfare; however, it may also decrease welfare if education is insufficient to alter the equilibrium information and pricing strategy of firms. Educating consumers may do more harm than good and should thus only be considered if the regulator is sufficiently well informed about consumer and firm behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Kosfeld, Michael & Schüwer, Ulrich, 2011. "Add-on Pricing, Naive Consumers, and the Hidden Welfare Costs of Education," IZA Discussion Papers 6061, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6061
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Spiegler, Ran, 2014. "Bounded Rationality and Industrial Organization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199334261.
    2. Christine Jolls & Cass R. Sunstein, 2006. "Debiasing through Law," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 199-242, January.
    3. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ujhelyi, Gergely, 2010. "Regulating misinformation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 247-257, April.
    4. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540.
    5. Mark Armstrong, 2008. "Interactions between Competition and Consumer Policy," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 4.
    6. Mark Armstrong & John Vickers & Jidong Zhou, 2009. "Consumer Protection and the Incentive to Become Informed," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 399-410, 04-05.
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    8. Sumit Agarwal & Eugene Amromin & Itzhak Ben-David & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Douglas D. Evanoff, 2009. "Do financial counseling mandates improve mortgage choice and performance? Evidence from a legislative experiment," Working Paper Series WP-09-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mark Armstrong & John Vickers, 2012. "Consumer Protection and Contingent Charges," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(2), pages 477-493, June.
    2. Nick Vikander, 2014. "Sellouts, Beliefs, and Bandwagon Behavior," Discussion Papers 14-15, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    3. Bourguignon, Hélène & Gomes, Renato & Tirole, Jean, 2014. "Shrouded Transaction Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 10171, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Wenzel, Tobias, 2014. "Consumer myopia, competition and the incentives to unshroud add-on information," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 89-96.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bounded rationality; competition; regulation; welfare; consumer protection;

    JEL classification:

    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General

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